Crownsville, MD – As the country’s population ages, the demand for housing will shift dramatically and the need for services to help older adults age in place will grow exponentially, according to a study by the Center for Housing Policy.
Is the state prepared to help meet those needs?
That’s one of the key questions that a Maryland task force will consider over the next four months.
The task force, chaired by Ken Gelula, executive director of CHAI Baltimore and Stephanie Prange Proestel, deputy director of Housing Initiative Partnership, Inc. held its first meeting July 26 at DHCD headquarters in Crownsville. The panel is scheduled to meet five more times before drafting its report to the legislature near the end of October.
Looking at the housing needs of senior citizens from a national perspective, the Center for Housing Policy estimates that 80 percent of older adult households are homeowners although that percentage may change after the rate of homeownership plummeted following the collapse of the housing market. The center recommends policies that help senior citizens retrofit their homes to accomodate disabilities and policies that promote loan modifications to help protect against foreclosures.
At its inaugural meeting, the Maryland task force decided to focus on three core areas: home repair, maintenance, and services. The legislature directed DHCD to work with the departments of aging, health and mental hygiene and human resources to create a task force “to study methods for identifying and understanding the renovation and repair needs of low-income and limited-income senior homeowners and identifying resources to assist senior homeowners.”
The next meeting will be on Aug. 9, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at DHCD’s headquarters, 100 Community Place, Crownsville, MD.
- By James McLean